Geohydrologic reconnaissance of Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Las Vegas Wash to Opal Mountain, Nevada

Open-File Report 82-115




The study is a geohydrologic reconnaissance of about 170 square miles in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area from Las Vegas Wash to Opal Mountain, Nevada. The study is one of a series that describes the geohydrology of the recreation area and that indentifies areas where water supplies can be developed. Precipitation in this arid area is about 5 inches per year. Streamflow is seasonal and extremely variable except for that in the Colorado River, which adjoins the area. Pan evaporation is more than 20 times greater than precipitation; therefore, regional ground-water supplies are meager except near the Colorado River, Lake Mead, and Lake Mohave. Large ground-water supplies can be developed near the river and lakes, and much smaller supplies may be obtained in a few favorable locations farther from the river and lakes. Ground water in most of the areas probably contains more than 1,000 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids, but water that contains less than 1,000 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids can be obtained within about 1 mile of the lakes. Crystalline rocks of metamorphic, intrusive and volcanic origin crop out in the area. These rocks are overlain by conglomerate and mudstone of the Muddy Creek Formation, gravel and conglomerate of the older alluvium, and sand and gravel of the Chemehuevi Formation and younger alluvium. The crystalline rocks, where sufficiently fractured, yield water to springs and would yield small amounts of water to favorably located wells. The poorly cemented and more permeable beds of the older alluvium, Chemehuevi Formation, and younger alluvium are the better potential aquifers, particularly along the Colorado River and Lakes Mead and Mohave. Thermal springs in the gorge of the Colorado River south of Hoover Dam discharge at least 2,580 acre-feet per year of water from the volcanic rocks and metamorphic and plutonic rocks. The discharge is much greater than could be infiltrated in the drainage basin above the springs. Transbasin movement of ground water probably occurs , and perhaps the larger part of the spring discharge is underflow from Eldorado Valley. The more favorable sites for ground-water development are along the shores of Lakes Mead and Mohave and are the Fire Mountain, Opal Mountain to Aztec Wash, and Hemenway Wash sites. Wells yielding several hundred gallons per minute of water of acceptable chemical quality can be developed at these sites. (USGS)

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USGS Numbered Series
Geohydrologic reconnaissance of Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Las Vegas Wash to Opal Mountain, Nevada
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
v, 23 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.